Windows 7 Choices Still Too Confusing

Microsoft says it's simplifying choices, but isn't going far enough


The flavors of Windows 7 that will go on sale next year are in some ways simpler than Vista -- and still too complicated. Microsoft appears to want to avoid the confusion caused by multiple versions of Vista, which I argue worsened its problems. But the company hasn't gone far enough with Win7.

Microsoft will emphasize two versions of Windows 7 for U.S. sales. One aimed at consumers and one at most business users. That's much like Windows XP, and a welcome change from the three Vistas aimed at consumers alone.

But if you work for a large company, you might get a third version of Win7. Or if you buy certain hardware, a fourth. And then "PC enthusiasts" can get something called Win7 Ultimate. Oh, and overseas countries will get several other varieties. Each version will come with a different price. It's a steep slope toward confusion.

Microsoft says it is just trying to meet the different needs of its 1 billion customers worldwide. But I think the company is still trying to squeeze every dollar out of Windows by resorting to market segmentation.

After all the problems with Vista, a smarter Microsoft could've found something simpler than what we're getting with Win7.